• Florida shootingFlorida white supremacist group admits ties to Parkland School shooter

    A spokesperson for the white supremacist group Republic of Florida (ROF) claimed to the Anti-Defamation League on Thursday that Nikolas Cruz, the man charged with the previous day’s deadly shooting spree at a Parkland, Florida, high school, was associated with his group. If Cruz’s role is confirmed, the Parkland school shooting would be the second school shooting by a white supremacist in the past two months. In December 2017, another young white supremacist, William Atchison, engaged in a shooting spree at a high school in northwest New Mexico, killing two students before shooting himself.

  • GunsWhy American teenagers can buy AR-15s

    Nikolas Cruz was too young to buy a pistol at a gun shop. But no law prevented the teenager from purchasing the assault-style rifle he allegedly used to kill at least 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida. Florida is not unique. In most states, people can legally buy assault-style weapons before they can drink a beer. Federal law stipulates that gun stores and other licensed dealers may not sell a handgun to anyone under the age of 21, but they can sell long guns — that is, rifles and shotguns — to anyone who is at least 18. Twenty-three states have set minimum age requirements for the ownership of long guns, ranging from 14 in Minnesota to 21 in Illinois and Hawaii.

  • Mass shootingUnderstanding mass shootings in America

    At least 17 people were killed Wednesday afternoon in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The gunman, a former student at the school, was armed with a rifle and multiple magazines, officials said. The shooting came 23 days after a 15-year-old student shot 16 of his classmates, two of them fatally, at Marshall County High School, in Benton, Kentucky. The FBI does not count “mass shootings,” but rather “mass murder,” which the bureau defines as an event in which four or more people are killed — excluding the perpetrator, and not including domestic violence incidents — at one time. Despite the attention they garner, mass shootings account for just 2 percent of gun deaths in the United States.

  • School shootingWhy security measures won’t stop school shootings

    By Bryan Warnick, Benjamin A. Johnson, and Sam Rocha

    When deadly school shootings like the one that took place on Valentine’s Day in Broward County, Florida occur, often they are followed by calls for more stringent security measures. While some of these measures seem sensible, overall there is little empirical evidence that such security measures decrease the likelihood of school shootings. Surveillance cameras were powerless to stop the carnage in Columbine and school lock-down policies did not save the children at Sandy Hook. We believe what is missing from the discussion is the idea of an educational response. Current policy responses do not address the fundamental question of why so many mass shootings take place in schools. To answer this question, we need to get to the heart of how students experience school and the meaning that schools have in American life. It is time to think about school shootings not as a problem of security, but also as a problem of education.

  • Quick takes // By Ben FrankelCompeting rights: Florida shooting highlights tension between two rights

    Many Americans accept the current gun trade-off: Much easier access to guns relative to other advanced societies – with a far larger number of gun fatalities relative to these advanced societies. Unless this general acceptance of the current trade-off changes – and this would amount to a cultural change — we are not going to see any meaningful legislative changes to the issue of access to guns. But the question that events such as the Florida school shooting raises should still be considered: It has to do with the clash between two constitutionally protected rights: The right to bear arms and the right for life and liberty. Americans have the right to bear arms, but they also have a fundamental right to life, that is, the right to live, which also means the right not to be killed by another human being. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln’s words (in his “All the laws but one” response to Chief Justice Taney): Should we be so adamant and so narrowly restrictive in our refusal to read the Second Amendment more broadly, even if the result of this absolutism is that other rights – fundamental rights, like the right to life —are being eroded?

  • Gun safetyThe ATF received 36,000 comments on bump stocks. They’re overwhelmingly anti-regulation.

    By Sean Campbell and Daniel Nass

    In the week following the Las Vegas massacre on 1 October, polls showed that nearly 75 percent of registered voters in gun-owning households supported a ban on bump stocks. Yet despite the public sentiment, an analysis of comments submitted in response to a government proposal to regulate bump stocks shows that 85 percent of commenters opposed the measure.

  • Hate groups2017 anti-Semitic incidents in the U.K. on the rise

    The Community Security Trust’s (CST) 2017 Anti-Semitic Incidents Report, published Thursday, shows that CST recorded 1,382 anti-Semitic incidents in the United Kingdom in 2017, the highest total CST has ever recorded for a calendar year. This is a 3 percent increase from the 1,346 incidents recorded during 2016, which was itself a record annual total. The previous record high was in 2014, when CST recorded 1,182 anti-Semitic incidents. A copy of the report can be downloaded here. In addition to the 1,382 anti-Semitic incidents, a further 872 reports of potential incidents were received by CST in 2017 but were not deemed to be anti-Semitic and are not included in this total. Many of these 872 potential incidents involved suspicious activity or possible hostile reconnaissance at Jewish locations; criminal activity affecting Jewish people and buildings; and anti-Israel activity that did not include anti-Semitic language, motivation or targeting.

  • Considered opinionSome real “bombshell news” in the Mueller investigation

    By Jim Geraghty

    Former Trump team legal spokesperson Mark Corallo, in the summer of 2016, had concerns that White House communications director Hope Hicks may be considering obstructing justice after a comment she made in a conference call about emails between Donald Trump Jr. and Russians with ties to the Kremlin. “Mark Corallo is a pro’s pro who went to work for the Trump legal team completely on board and who wanted to help the president … well, make America great again. When he left after two months with some reports that he was troubled by what he was seeing … that was a deeply ominous sign,” Jim Geraghty writes in National Review. “If Corallo ends up offering sort of critical testimony, this is not because he’s a Judas or because he’s part of the establishment or some sort of ‘Deep State’ sellout. It’s because he saw stuff that genuinely struck him as either illegal or unethical or both and he’s not the kind of person who’s willing to lie under oath about it.”

  • The Russia connectionDutch intelligence instrumental in launching FBI’s investigation into U.S. election meddling

    In 2014, Dutch government hackers from AIVD, the Dutch intelligence agency, managed to infiltrate “the computer network of the infamous Russian hacker group Cozy Bear,” a Dutch newspaper reports. A year later, the Dutch operatives witnessed “Russian hackers launching an attack on the Democratic Party in the United States.” The penetration of the Russian network allowed the Dutch intelligence services to provide the FBI with valuable information. The Steele Dossier was taken so seriously by the FBI not only because Christopher Steele was a credible and reliable Russia expert – but because much of the raw intelligence contained in the dossier dovetailed with information the FBI already had from other sources – one of them being Dutch intelligence.

  • GunsProsecuting background check, straw purchase violations depends on state laws

    A new study found that prosecutions in Pennsylvania for violating the state’s straw purchase law increased by nearly 16 times following the 2012 passage of a law requiring a mandatory minimum five-year sentence for individuals convicted of multiple straw purchase violations.  So-called straw purchases involve a prohibited person, such as someone with a criminal record, enlisting the aid of another person to buy the firearm on their behalf.

  • Border securityTexas smugglers say Trump's border wall wouldn't stop immigrants, drugs from pouring across the border

    By Jay Root

    If the Trump administration follows through on the president’s promises to build a border wall, would it actually stop undocumented immigrants and illegal drugs? Two former smugglers explain how they’d work around it.

  • GunsDog shoots man: Dog shoots his hunter-owner dead

    A Russian hunter was fatally shot by his dog. Police investigators who examined the incident said that the man was shot when his dog stepped on the trigger of a loaded rifle. The man, on a hunting trip on Sunday, was letting his dogs out of the trunk of a car when one of the dogs stepped on the trigger of a loaded hunting rifle, killing the man.

  • The Russia connectionThe man who knew too much

    In November 2006, on orders of Vladimir Putin, Russian operatives used radioactive material to poison and kill Alexandr Litvinenko, a former KGB colleague who had turned a fierce critic of the Russian leader, and who was living with his family in London. Yesterday, the British government froze the assets of the two Russian agents – one of them has been awarded a medal by Putin, and is now a leading member of United Russia, Putin’s political party, in the Russian parliament. Ten years later, in November 2016, a leading British nuclear forensic scientist – who was part of the 2006 investigation and who was instrumental in tying the nuclear material used in the killing to the two Russian agents — was found dead in his home, after returning from an academic research trip to Russia. It was the 14th Russia-related killing on British soil since 2006. The number of individuals with inside knowledge of the Putin regime and its practices — and who have met an untimely end in mysterious circumstances — is growing, and British lawmakers urge the government to show more resolve in investigating this string of killings.

  • CrimePredicting criminal risk: Court software may be no more accurate than web survey takers

    A widely-used computer software tool may be no more accurate or fair at predicting repeat criminal behavior than people with no criminal justice experience, according to a new study. The analysis showed that non-experts who responded to an online survey performed equally as well as the Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions (COMPAS) software system used by courts to help determine the risk of recidivism.

  • GunsU.S. gun deaths in 2017: 15,549 (excluding suicides) – 3 percent increase over 2016

    At least 15,549 people were killed by guns in the United States in 2017, excluding most suicides, according to data collected by Gun Violence Archive (GVA), a nonprofit organization that tracks media and law enforcement reports of shootings. The number, which marks a 3 percent increase over the previous year. There were 31,157 firearm injuries in 2017, a rise of nearly 2 percent over the previous year. The number of people killed in mass shootings declined from 456 in 2016 to 433 in 2017.